Nature has planted in our minds an insatiable longing to see the truth. – Cicero
What does that mean?
This quote is an alternate translation of “Natura inest mentibus nostris insatiabilis quædam cupiditas veri videndi.” in Latin, or in English: “Our minds possess by nature an insatiable desire to know the truth.”
Everyone I know has at least a little curiosity about the world around them. They want to know how or why certain things are the way they are. I imagine your experience is the same.
Few people have no desire to seek the truth. Whether it is about an unsolved incident regarding a missing aircraft or the origins of a meteor shower, most people are curious.
And this curiosity, this longing to see the truth, has driven humanity from caves to palaces, from rocks to electronics, and from our origins to the surface of the moon.
Why is curiosity important?
Some things we prejudge. I don’t think too many people are curious about what it is like to kill another person with their bare hands, as an example. But most of us have broad areas about which our curiosity is quite keen. And as we are all unique, they are rarely exactly the same.
Have you ever seen two people light up and start talking like when one finds another who shares one of their interests? It can get heated if they have differing views of what is proper, but they are quite energetic, aren’t they? If you’ve done that as well, you understand exactly what is going on.
Through curiosity, we find and discover more about ourselves, about others, as well as about the topic about which we are curious. And with each conversation, with each new person, with each new exchange of ideas, we get closer to finding the truth which we seek.
In short, curiosity may be dangerous to a cat, but most humans can manage to keep themselves safe from harm. Unless, of course, your search for truth takes you into conflict with the system. Whether it is religious or government dogma, there are lines which, if crossed, lead to trouble. Watch out, lest you suffer the fate of the cat.
Where can I apply this in my life?
That would depend on what catches your eye, or what kindles the curiosity within you. Do you wonder about technology, or is it simply an efficient way to get things done? Are you curious about the world around you, or is it enough that it simply is? Are you curious about events and happenings around you or around the world?
What do you like to watch or read? Do you watch detective shows because you are curious to know who did it? Do you watch animal shows because something about animals piqued your curiosity? Do you read magazines because you are curious about celebrities, recipes, or fashion (different magazines, I hope)?
In books, this insatiable longing is what drove Sherlock Homes and James Bond to seek the truth. In movies, it motivated those two, and so many others, including Indiana Jones. Curiosity caused Galileo to look at the stars and planets, and to seek the truth, even if the result was unpopular.
It was this curiosity and the number of shared interests that was the initial spark for my wife and I. That sharing and satisfaction of curiosities kept us interested in each-other long enough to form a deeper bond between us. And we still share a great curiosity about a great number of things.
What role has curiosity played in your life? When, where, and about what are you, or have you been, most curious? I’ve always found mechanical things captivating. How things are put together and how to take them apart has been a particular weakness of mine. I even subscribed to magazines catering to those who like to tinker.
What do you do to seek the truth, to better your knowledge, or improve your skills? In what areas of your life is this most prevalent? Do you like to garden for food, or do you enjoy flowers? Do you craft things from fabric, or do you work in wood or metal? Perhaps paint is your medium? Each of these require knowledge, skill, and a certain amount of curiosity.
Now that you have had a chance to think about it, how important is your curiosity to you, and to your future? What will you do to satisfy your curiosity in the immediate future? You could, after finishing this page, search the internet for something which has piqued your curiosity. Find out something which leads you closer to the truth.
I doubt that curiosity will dim before I die, although I’m not sure which will be the cause and which will be the resultant.
From: Twitter, @philo_quotes
confirmed at : Hoyts_New_Cyclopedia_Of_Practical_Quotations , from the work “Tusculanarum Disputationum” I. 18. (20th quote down, or search for ‘natura ‘)
Photo by Luke Jones